Today is a significant day for one of the virtual reality scene’s current “big two” companies. HTC, the manufacturer and co-developer of the popular Vive VR headset is announcing the launch of its Viveport content platform in the United States.
Launching in China several months ago, Viveport is an online distribution system for software that runs on the Vive. The purpose of Viveport, according to HTC’s president of Viveport, Rikard Steiber, is to provide a one-stop shop for non-gaming focused VR experiences.
The Vive’s co-developer is Valve, the prolific video game studio and provider of the nearly ubiquitous PC gaming platform, Steam. The vast majority of Vive experiences are downloaded via Steam but now, with the addition of Viveport, owners of the headset will have another option for garnering more content.
In an interview with UploadVR, Steiber explained the primary difference between Viveport and Steam: “Games in VR are having great success on Steam. But with Viveport what we want to do is feature immersive experiences that are not covered so well,” Steiber said. “Namely those experience that fall into more cinematic, artistic, social or educational categories. We still have a fantastic relationship with both Valve and Steam, but [with Steam] there simply isn’t enough real estate for every single VR experience to shine the way it deserves to. With Viveport we can provide more marketing and exposure to non-gaming titles that might otherwise go overlooked.”
To coincide with today’s launch, the company will be offering a one time sale on certain popular titles such as Everest VR and The Blu, both of which are releasing brand new content on Viveport for the first time. These featured applications will be available for a limited time at just $1 each.
These are not the only experiences who’s studios are choosing to make an initial debut on Viveport. This phenomenon has prompted some to wonder if HTC, and Vive by association, is reneging on its well known anti-exclusivity policies. Steiber was quick address these concerns on the record.
“It is true that certain companies are making the choice to feature their content on Viveport first and of course we are trying to market our products as best we can,” Steiber explained. “But there are absolutely no contracts between us and any of these companies. They are completely free to release on any platform they wish. In fact, we encourage all of our developers to release for as many devices as possible. At HTC we absolutely do not believe in exclusives.”
HTC is taking its own advice on that front. Steiber shared that the company’s internal vision for the service is for it to be, “The, go-to, VR app store across all platforms and devices. We believe that you should be able to start your VR journey on one device and continue it on another.”
Right now, HTC is only announcing Viveport for the Vive, but Steiber teased that more news on additional platforms will be incoming soon.
Developers interested in seeing their creations on the platform can visit developer.viveport.com to apply.